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Making Unconscious Decisions Properly

Aired May 6, 2005 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: In a blink, you make decisions that can change your life. Next, on this special edition of 360, the choices you make without even knowing and how to make them work for you.
(voice-over): Ever wonder why you buy the things you do? Tonight, the art of the package. Manipulation by labeling. How companies get you to buy what they're selling even if you don't need it.

Could you be racially biased and not even know it? Tonight take the test that might reveal some shocking truths about yourself.

Is your marriage in trouble? Do you even know the warning signs? Tonight how you can tell if your marriage will last and what you can do to protect it.

Does size really matter when it comes to career and love? Tonight, we put the myth to the test. Why short people may be short- changed on salary, status, and respect.

And what does your bedroom say about you? From what's on your walls to the mysterious mess under your bed. Tonight, how your rooms reveal some hidden truths about your personality.

ANNOUNCER: From the CNN broadcast center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Hello, and welcome to this special edition of 360. In a blink, the power of your instinct. Whether you know it or not, you make decisions in the blink of an eye. Split-second judgments that affect your career, your wallets, even your relationships. Malcolm Gladwell writes about snap judgments in his best-selling book, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking."

And this hour, we take you on a journey into your unconscious. The choices good and bad you make without even realizing it. We begin with a look at your bedroom. Believe it or not, just one glimpse of that very intimate room, and the things you have in it can reveal a lot about your personality. Details about who are, the way you handle yourself, your fears, and even your fantasies. CNN's Ed Lavandera goes in pursuit of a room with a personal view.


SAM GOSLING, SOCIOLOGIST: Stereotypes, race stereotypes or sex stereotypes or ... ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sam Gosling makes a living snooping around people's homes. He's a sociologist who says our rooms say more about us than we might think. Today, we're putting his skills to the test.

GOSLING: We're in one of the largest dorms, I think, one of the newest dorms in the University of Texas campus.

LAVANDERA: We found three students to open up their dorm rooms and their souls for our experiment. Fallon Ngo is a senior. This is her room. This is Rachel Saathoff's room. She is a freshman. And here is a peek in Merritt Fields room. He is also a freshman. But that is all we will tell you about them for now.

GOSLING: We'll see how we do.

LAVANDERA: Sam has never met these students. He'll analyze their rooms first. Then, we'll compare notes with the students and some of their friends. First up, Fallon's room.

GOSLING: First thing to look at, I would look at in this room is the stuff that -- there is nothing there. I mean, you look at the walls, and it's pretty blank. This is someone who I would say their work is pretty central to them. The room mainly seems focused on this desk. That's what's going on here. And we probably should get on our hands and knees and look around.

And the bottles, look at that, all neat and prepared. So again, the fact that we have all of this preparation -- this is someone who thinks ahead. They would be more concrete rather than playful with ideas and experimenting.

My assessment of this person would be as someone who is relatively introverted, shows up on time for things. This is the person who is more conventional in lifestyle and ideas and activities.

LAVANDERA: Okay. So did he get it right? Let's bring in Fallon Ngo.

FALLON NGO, STUDENT: I am very school oriented. There's a lot of books from my classes around my room. Very functional. No frills. So everything around me has some sort purpose or use. And nothing extra.

LAVANDERA: I like this one. It says you probably show up on time.

NGO: I do. And I make sure that I am 15 minutes early for an appointment.

LAVANDERA: Her friend agrees with Sam that Fallon is all about her work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This girl's on a mission. I mean, she wants to go to medical school, and she knows exactly how to get there. I mean, she's mapped everything out. LAVANDERA: But listen to this:

NGO: I have a hard time grasping abstract ideas. I'm very concrete.

LAVANDERA: What did she say?

NGO: I'm very concrete.

LAVANDERA: That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

GOSLING: They would be more concrete.

LAVANDERA: Now let's move to Rachel Saathoffs' room.

GOSLING: This room is a spectacular monument ...

LAVANDERA: Things have drastically changed.

GOSLING: Yeah. Friends are a very important part of this person's life. It's colorful. It's -- it says energy, doesn't it? It says this person is probably energetic and outgoing.

LAVANDERA: It doesn't say school work.

GOSLING: It does not say school work. But notice, it is easier to get at the fashion magazines than it is, as we said before, than to get into these books. Right here, right? Yeah.

LAVANDERA: The fashion magazines are here.

GOSLING: They're here. They're for people to see.

LAVANDERA: The study material is down at the bottom.

GOSLING: Let's keep the learning material out of the way. We wouldn't want to ruin our reputation.

Look at all this. Yes, somebody who makes things. Creative, look. Crayons, glue gun, pens. So somebody who is creative.

LAVANDERA: In the last room, we instantly knew the last person is probably a chemistry major.

GOSLING: You're right.


GOSLING: Right. Exactly. You're exactly...

LAVANDERA: We're not sure what she studies, right.

GOSLING: No. I would say extroverted, outgoing, sociable, friends are a central part of this person's life.

LAVANDERA: All right, well, here is Rachel and a few things. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rachel is definitely easy going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rachel is more like trying to live her life to get -- to have the most fun.

RACHEL SAATHOFF, STUDENT: I sleep right by all of my friends. It's so happy.

LAVANDERA: Remember we couldn't figure out what Rachel is studying. Well, it turns out there's a reason why.

We had a hard time figuring out what your major is.

SAATHOFF: My major. I definitely don't have one.

LAVANDERA: But she says she's thinking of a career in advertising. Didn't Sam say she was creative?

Is it weird that we can say all of this stuff to you just by looking at your stuff?

SAATHOFF: Everything you've said has been right, like, hit right on the nose. So it is a little creepy.

LAVANDERA: Well, we'll end our so-called creepy experiment in Merritt Field's room.

GOSLING: This is clearly a male's room. The newspaper, which is the sort of alternative humorous university newspaper. What this room says to me most of all is again someone who -- they have a Macintosh -- someone who thinks different. It's someone who is non- conventional.

LAVANDERA: But what about how outgoing or reserved Merritt might be?

GOSLING: It's hard to judge here. This room is interesting. It's interesting really because it doesn't say so much about many things especially as the other rooms. But it does have a strong signal about the way this person is an alternative sort of thinker -- non-conventional.

LAVANDERA: With that, we brought in Merritt and a few friends. Watch the group as Sam gives his description.

GOSLING: It seems from the decor you have and the books you have and what you have that you're someone who's thoughtful, sort of philosophical, also quite non-conventional in your thinking, at least compared with others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's pretty dead on. I mean, we've had like conversations you know. about philosophy and whatnot. Life. But it's also he goes total, you know unconventional way on everything.

MERRITT FIELDS, STUDENT: I like to think of myself as kind of an outside-the-box person, I guess. LAVANDERA: There's also a reason why it was hard it pick up on how outgoing Merritt is. His friends say he's both outgoing and reserved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know he's guarded, but once you get to know him, he'll take to you all of the time.

LAVANDERA: These dorm room snapshots offer a glance into the students' personalities. But life coach Martha Beck says rooms can also offer an even deeper, perhaps darker view into someone's mind.

MARTHA BECK, LIFE COACH: Our troubled minds, our soul sickness, whatever it is we have in us, we always create in our outer lives through the living spaces we make.

LAVANDERA: She showed us these pictures of a home of a 50-year- old man she counsels. She was struck by the bareness of the walls and lack of color.

BECK: I mean, imagine this as the inside of a person's heart. It basically says this man is lonely.

LAVANDERA: Beck also says to look out for another trait.

BECK: When somebody has a habit of pushing away unpleasant psychological material, you'll find that their closets are very messy, that they stuff things under the bed. There will be messes, but they'll be hidden and that's usually a sign they need to bring something out into the light.

LAVANDERA: Experts say no matter how hard you might try to hide your personality from the world, your room will always offer a view into your inner-most secrets.


LAVANDERA (on camera): All right, Anderson. Well, it's time to have a little bit of fun with you. We sent off three pictures from your home -- your living room, entertainment room and dining room and the kitchen -- to Sam and Martha. And they offered back a few of their thoughts. We'll start off with the good stuff here, all right.


LAVANDERA: They said very intelligent. High achieving. You're focused and task-oriented, although you do have a secret fear of not knowing enough.


LAVANDERA: Sociable, yet you treasure your private space, and that you are very polite. How's that.

COOPER: Sounds good. What's the bad stuff?

LAVANDERA: All right. Some of the tougher stuff to hear, perhaps. You're self-conscious. You might experience anxiety. You're very hard on yourself. You tend to like to be in control and often compare yourself to others, maybe kind of keeping score.

COOPER: Hmm, interesting. Well I do often keep score against Dobbs over there. But that's actually pretty on the money. That's fascinating. Wow.

LAVANDERA: And all of your colleagues said it was all right on, too.

COOPER: They're all fired. Ed, thanks very much.

(voice-over): Next on this special edition of 360, will your marriage last? Therapists who say they can tell if your relationship is doomed in a matter of minutes. Find out the tell-tale signs.

Do you judge people on the color of their skin without even thinking about it? We have a test that may reveal the shocking truths about yourself.

And the powers of packaging. The tricks of the trade marketers use to manipulate your mind to get you to buy, buy, buy.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, everyone. I'm Erica Hill in Atlanta. Just about 11 past the hour now. More like 12. Time for a check of the headlines.

President Bush began his five-day, four-country European trip today to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Two of his stops include the former Soviet republics of Latvia and Georgia. The trip may require some careful diplomacy as well, since Russia has objected to the president visiting the Baltic nations. Mr. Bush is also traveling to Russia to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In Iraq, two suicide bombings north and south of Baghdad kill at least 23 people and wound dozens. One bomber hit a crowded market. The other hit a bus carrying Iraqi police officers. Insurgents have stepped up their attacks since Iraq's transitional government was named last week.

In England, a historic victory, yesterday. British Prime Minister Tony Blair elected to a third consecutive term. That's a first for a member of the Labour Party. However, voters expressed their opposition to his role in the Iraq War by giving his party a smaller majority in the House of Commons.

And in Chicago, Illinois, vandalism on a stain some say looks like the Virgin Mary. Police have arrested a man suspected of using black shoe polish to paint the words "Big Lie" on the highway underpass stain. Some people had cried as a road crew paint over the defaced image.

And that's the latest from Headline News at this hour. I'll be back with more for you in just about 30 minutes. And we will return to our special edition of 360 in a blink -- "The power of your instinct" -- right after these messages.



COOPER: A nasty divorce battle makes for a great drama in the movie "War of the Roses." But with half of all marriages ending in divorce, we wondered, is there any way to tell if your marriage will last? Yes, says a psychologist named John Gottman, who claims he can predict the durability of a marriage just by watching couples for about 15 minutes talking with each other about a problem. His method is now being used by other psychologists across the country, which is why CNN's Gary Tuchman decided to find out if the way you speak to your significant other really can speak volumes about the future of your relationship.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ahh! I look so young.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three couples, the Hilton's of Florida, the King's of Virginia, and the Mack's of New York, all say they take their wedding vows seriously. But with half of all marriages not making it, will theirs last? Specially trained experts say they can spend 15 minutes with a couple, and with 90 percent accuracy, determine whether a marriage will make it another five years.

MALCOLM GLADWELL, AUTHOR, "BLINK": If you are in a happy relationship, on some level, that happiness is expressed in every conversation you have with your partner.

TUCHMAN: We videotaped our three couples discussing conflicts and asked psychologist David Bricker, who specializes in the so-called Gottman method, to handicap their marital futures.

DAVID BRICKER, PSYCHOLOGIST: This is John and Lani Hilton. They're from Miramar, Florida. They've been married about five years. They have three kids under 4 years old, which could be very stressful. They talk about family issues, money issues. Let's listen to them.

LANI HILTON: You closed the bedroom door so that I couldn't hear when the little baby Maria was crying. And so I thought I've told you that before. Have I told you that before?

JOHN HILTON: I think you have.

L. HILTON: Okay.

TUCHMAN: The issue is whether or not to use a baby monitor. Dr. Bricker is looking for the key warning signs of contempt, criticism, stonewalling and defensiveness.

J. HILTON: What do you think? L. HILTON: I don't know. I could start using the monitor again and having it be in the kitchen. But I don't know that we want to waste the electricity.

J. HILTON: I mean, it seems to me if we leave the door open, the kids can get in.

BRICKER: If you are look for the wrong things, you will say they're not going to succeed. She's worried about turning the electricity on and off? And you would think, what an unhappy couple. But that's not what we should be looking for.

TUCHMAN: What Bricker is looking for is respectful arguing. So will they make it?

BRICKER: Yes, I think they'll stick together.

TUCHMAN: Simon and Caroline Jackson King of Woodbridge, Virginia, have also been married for five years. It is their second marriage and there is a stepson issue.

CAROLINE KING: Well, I told you if I don't think it is disrespectful, then I can't shut him down the way I want you to. So if you could help me out with that. Let me know.

SIMON KING: Yeah, I think that we need to establish the signs or the, you know, signals that indicate...

C. KING: Well, that's good.

S. KING: .. that indicate where I feel that there's a challenge to our authority.

TUCHMAN: They disagree in their video. But they work together as a team.

BRICKER: It looks like they're going to stay together also.

JESSICA MACK: I was feeling overwhelmed when you were hanging the tapestries up, because you were like banging and flipping around and I was feeling like overwhelmed.

TUCHMAN: Jessica and Josh Mack are newlyweds from Long Island, New York.

JESSICA MACK: Instead of hearing you mumble under your breath or I hear you throwing things, I would prefer that you just talk to me and say there is a lot of stuff in here. But sometimes I guess -- well, I know that your tone affects me.

JOSH MACK: Definitely short tempered when it comes to situations like that.


JOSH MACK: No, I am. Which you have to understand, because, again, you know, here I am, I'm like a neat freak. Everything has to be organized, and then, you know, I'm surrounded by clutter. Not saying it's all you.


JOSH MACK: Once again, but things like that kind of get me riled up and get me going.


BRICKER: It's good that he said paying attention to her. It's good that he is listening to her. But she talks about feeling overwhelmed. He talks about his frustration. And she wants to talk to him about the feelings. But each time that she stops talking and he responds, he brings it back to the clutter, which sounds defensive.

TUCHMAN: Because Dr. Bricker doesn't see contempt, he is not confident about giving a completely negative diagnosis, but ...

BRICKER: There is definitely a chance it won't succeed. So far from the data that we have so far, I would be leaning against it based on this amount of data.

TUCHMAN: Against their marriage succeeding.

BRICKER: Yes. Unless they do some kind of intervention.

TUCHMAN: Counseling can alter the most pessimistic prediction. And then there is immediate action that comes highly recommended.

BRICKER: If there was one thing that a couple could do, I would say that each of them should find out what their partner's dreams are, and then support the partner in fulfilling the dreams.


TUCHMAN (on camera): And that is very good advice from Dr. Bricker. I think a lot of us, especially when we have been with our loved ones a while, tend to forget there are still dreams to fulfill, and being conscious of that can help revitalize a relationship.

Now, regarding Jessica and Josh Mack, they weren't exactly thrilled to hear about the diagnosis. Jessica tells us it's a bit unsettling, but with the information, she hopes she and her husband can work on their marriage and go forward. Anderson?

ANDERSON: Change is possible. Gary Tuchman, thanks.

You at home, don't blink. Our special edition of 360 continues with a test you can take to find out if you have some racial biases you don't even know about. The results may shock you.

Plus, have you ever bought something at the supermarket and later asked yourself, why did I buy that? I didn't need it. We're going to look at the tricks of the trade -- marketing and manipulation.

Also ahead, the height of success -- why short people may be short changed on salary, status and respect.


COOPER: Chances are, when you meet someone for the first time, you have an immediate gut reaction. You like the person, or you don't. But a lot goes on in your mind to make that decision. Whether you realize it or not, there's a good chance that race plays a big role in your point of view. Now, you may think, who me, prejudiced? But yeah, we are talking about you. If you think that is not possible, you're in very good company. Most people presume they have no bias until they take a certain test.

In a few minutes, we're going to tell you how you can test yourself if you dare. But first Adaora Udoji on the power and the danger of making snap judgments.


ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A late night in a rough South Bronx neighborhood, four white police officers think Amadou Diallo has a gun. Fearing for their lives, they shoot him 41 times. Turns out, he was not armed. A terrible accident? Blatant racism? Author Malcolm Gladwell argues, something in between. Critical racial misjudgments made in seconds. His best-selling book, "Blink," argues it happens all of the time, and people have no idea.

GLADWELL: What we're measuring here are your unconscious levels of -- which by definition is the kind of bias that you hold that you have no direct control over. That's just your mind on autopilot.

UDOJI: Your mind on autopilot revealed, he says, by the Race Implicit Association Test, or IAT, a test said to measure subconscious feelings about race. We asked two volunteers to help us understand.

It's purposely fast. Looking for instinctive responses to pictures of blacks and whites, asking the taker to link words like wonderful and agony. One question connects the words white and bad, black and good, usually a tough one researchers say.

PROF. ANTHONY GREENWALD, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: The surprising thing we learned from this test is how many people have in their heads this knowledge that black is associated with bad things.

UDOJI: Cecile Giles (ph), an attorney, was surprised. She, an African American, tested a slight preference for European, meaning white, Americans.

PROF. PHILIP TETLOCK, UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY: I don't think that's true. I have a lot of European Americans in my life. And my family's very mixed.

UDOJI: In our CNN newsroom, Jen, a staffer, who grew up in a diverse community, also showed a slight preference for whites.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of opens your eyes to what's going on in your head that you don't even realize. UDOJI: Gladwell says those preferences shine through every day. Take car sales. He cites a University of Chicago study which found salespeople routinely gave blacks quotes as much as $800 higher than whites for the same car, given identical job histories and salaries.

Professor Anthony Green, who developed the Race IAT test, says we live in a sea of stereotypes. The blast of daily black-and-white images are reflected, he says, in the several hundred thousand Race IATs taken during the past decade.

GREEN: About 80 percent of whites, about 80 percent of Asians show that they have an automatic association that makes white more positive than black. For blacks, it's very interesting. You might think it would be exactly the opposite, that about 80 percent of them would think that black is good, white is bad. No. It's much more like 50/50.

UDOJI: Gladwell might understand why. With a white father and a black mother, he showed a slight preference for whites.

GLADWELL: I live in a society where there are these images, associations, thoughts, feelings, ideas about linking black people with bad things. And it is impossible to live in a society and not be affected by those kind of messages on some levels.

UDOJI: But critics like Professor Philip Tetlock (ph) argue the results show how flawed the race tests are.

PHILIP TETLOCK (ph), PROFESSOR: I think you are measuring very primitive fundamental psychological processes that are open to a number of alternative explanations that makes it far too easy to label far too many people as prejudiced.

UDOJI: The authors say those biases exist.

GLADWELL: People ask us if there's a way to make it go away? Can you overwrite this information that's in your head? And we're looking for ways to do this. We know that you go it in small ways, but we don't know if you can do it in any permanent way.

UDOJI: The first step, he says -- awareness of those images bombarding us, hoping that will make you think twice before making assumptions. The Diallo case made a lot of people think about race in New York City. So far, there have been no easy answers.


UDOJI (on camera): What's more, Professor Greenwald and others say biases can change, at least when it comes to the Race Implicit Association Test. That is, they say, if someone takes a look at pictures of, let's say, Colin Powell or any other prominent successful African American, like Oprah Winfrey before taking the test, the results are different. Seeing positive role models, they say, helps people feel more positive about African Americans and therefore less bias against them. Fascinating study, but we want you to judge for yourself because anyone can take this test. You can find it at Take it and judge for yourself, Anderson. It's fascinating work.

COOPER: Adaora Udoji, thanks very much.

(voice-over): Ever wonder why you buy the things you do? Tonight, the art of the package. Manipulation by labeling. How companies get you to buy what they are selling even if you don't need it.

Does size really matter when it comes to career and love? Tonight, we put the myth to the test. Why short people may be short- changed on salary, status, and respect. Don't blink, 360 continues.


COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of 360 -- "In a Blink: The Power of Your Instinct." We're looking at these split- second decisions that all of us make, decisions that can affect everything from our relationships with others to our careers and our bank accounts. That's the focus of the best selling book "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a fascinating book.

The question now is, did you ever get something at the supermarket, take it home and then say to yourself, I don't need this. I don't want it. Why in the world did I even buy it? Well, don't blame yourself entirely. Chances are you were sucked into the power of product packaging.

It's a billion-dollar business where companies are betting you'll think image and design are just as important flavor. Just how do marketers seduce you into buying things you don't even need? Well, CNN's Heidi Collins takes us shopping.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America's typical supermarket. As many as 100,000 different products clamoring for your attention. How do you choose?

We went shopping with marketing expert Darrel Rhea, CEO of Cheskin Consulting Firm, to get a first-hand look at the methods companies use to get you to buy what they are selling.

DARREL RHEA, CEO, CHESKIN CONSULTING: One of the things manufacturers do and designers do is they really sweat the details. Here in the Hormel logo, things like this sprig of parsley are engineered into that design to communicate freshness.

COLLINS (on camera): Come on, that little tiny bit of green, that sprig is going to actually make me say, huh, this must be fresh?

RHEA: It will add to it. COLLINS (voice-over): While you may not realize it, packages send subtle messages and tap our emotions. The thinking is, the sunrise on Folgers coffee connects with the morning ritual of sipping that perfect cup. The glass jar of Del Monte fruit reminds us of grandma's kitchen. The film reel and colors on Orville Redenbacher's popcorn have that movie theater feel. And all these visual cues don't just manipulate our first impressions.

RHEA: The packaging does influence the taste of the product as well. We do taste products with our eyes.

COLLINS: Look no further than the ice cream aisle.

RHEA: Packaging that's in a cylindrical container is perceived as tasting better and being more premium than packaging in a rectangular package. It's the combination of the fact that we've got stripes. Those stripes kind of hearken back to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. And we've got the ice cream in a bowl. We've got flavor cues that are hitting us.

COLLINS: And hitting our wallets. The fancier presentation triggers our impulse to buy and pay more. In this store, $3.19 will get you 100 bags of straight-forward Salada tea at regular price, or just 20 bags of the more ornate Twinings.

(on camera): When you actually do the comparison, in here it's $3.19 basically a pound. Here, it's nearly $16 a pound. That better be some darn good tea.

RHEA: Absolutely. You have some of them going up to $17 or $18 a pound.

COLLINS (voice-over): In fact, it often comes down to trust. And who do you trust more than these familiar characters? Daring or not, these personalities are carefully designed and tested for mass appeal.

It's all about the right look to get us to make that split-second decision to go from shelf to cart.


COLLINS: And package isn't just for grown ups. A lot of prime store real estate is dedicated to little shoppers.

RHEA: Here we're looking at a fruit roll-up product that has tongue talk-tattoos.

COLLINS (on camera): Oh, yummy.

RHEA: This is really toy packaging, not food packaging.

We've got Barbie, Shark-tales, Shrek, really fun packaging that evokes an entertainment experience.

COLLINS (voice-over): So big or small, old or young, are we all being manipulated?

MALCOLM GLADWELL, AUTHOR: I think we're being manipulated all the time. And I think we have to know the extent to which our unconscious is being manipulated. Once you know about that, you do make different decisions, and you make smarter decisions. And you're at least in charge.

COLLINS: Two-thirds of our grocery purchases are unplanned. What can do you to resist impulse buying? Well, make sure specials are special. Be wary of those end-of-aisle displays. Not everything there is on sale. Make a detailed shopping list complete with brand- names and slow down, interrupt the impulse. And if all else fails?

RHEA: Just shop online. You won't have the sensory overload that we get in the grocery store like this.


COLLINS: There's actually a term for all of this that Malcolm Gladwell came up with. He calls our split-decision making "thin slicing," and we all do it every day. And Anderson, when it comes to shopping, it works kind of like a self-defense mechanism, because there are so many products in places like grocery stores, we become overwhelmed. We kind of panic and then just buy.

COOPER: Heidi Collins. Next, on this special edition of 360, the height of injustice. Why it seems tall people have an advantage when it comes to love and money? Talk about not fair.

And a little bit later, advice straight from the author of "Blink," Malcolm Gladwell. How to use snap judgments to improve your life.


HILL: I'm Erica Hill in Atlanta at about 40 minutes past the hour. Here are the top stories from "Headline News."

Tough words from the White House aimed at North Korea. After a report that Pyongyang may be preparing to test a nuclear bomb, the White House says the move would be a provocative act that would further isolate the country. A Defense Department official said intelligence shows North Korea making preparations for what could possibly be a nuclear test, but the officials says it could also just be a hoax.

In Thailand, a disaster drill. This is only a test. Thousand of U.S. and Thai troops took part in today's exercises a little more than four months after a tsunami devastated the coastal areas.

Back here in the U.S. in Tallahassee, Florida, a missing convicted sexual predator arrested. We told you about the manhunt for Patrick Wayne Bell last night. He was arrested this morning at a city bus stop. Bell had traveled more than 400 miles since Tuesday, when police say, he took off of his tracking device and fled his mother's house in Riviera Beach. And that is the latest at this hour from "Headline News." I'll be back with more for you in just about 30 minute. We'll return to our special edition of 360 "In a Blink -- The Power of your Instinct," right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Samantha Jones, public relations. Very nice. You must do well. Like, who's going say no to you? What do you say to dinner, Friday night?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that might work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And just as her self-esteem was soaring right off the charts...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to meet you pink lady. I'll give you a call.



COOPER: Samantha and "Sex and the City," a big surprised after realizing she was being hit on by a vertically challenged man. It looks like she may have been turned off in the blink of the eye. But come on, aren't we bigger than that when we judge people? Or in this world, is being small truly a short coming? You might be surprised by the answers.

CNN's Gary Tuchman sizes up the difference height can make to a man.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is rare to be 6 feet tall or over.




TUCHMAN: Only 15 percent of American men are six feet or over. So, why have 42 percent of the American president's been six feet or over. And why are a stunning 58 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs that tall?

Malcolm Gladwell is the gatherer of these facts and the author of the best selling book "Blink."

MALCOLM GLADWELL, AUTHOR, "BLINK": There are a thousand other factors that are more important than this, but I think it is impossible to deny that on some level, our decision about who ought to lead a company is being hijacked by a consideration that ought not to be on the table, and that is whether some guy is over six foot or not.

TUCHMAN: Gladwell says each extra inch of height adds almost $800 to a man's annual salary -- another reminder that people often subconsciously associate positive qualities such as leadership ability with a person's physical stature.

We wanted to see if some the same types of judgments affect relationships. We recruited seven single men of different heights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 5'6" and half.







UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born in Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really. Where in Jersey?


TUCHMAN: We brought them to HurryDate, a New York City-based company that matches men and women up on four-minute dates.


TUCHMAN: And gives them the chance to go on about 20 of those dates in less than 90 minutes.

We've given our guys special questionnaires we've prepared so their dates can rate them on various character issues, ranging from leadership ability to confidence. Tall guy Nick (ph) is smooth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the weekend, what do you like to do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I enjoy skiing, though.


TUCHMAN: So is short guy, Doug (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes I play in the dodgeball league, too. It's a lot fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you see that movie "Dodgeball"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did see the movie.

TUCHMAN: Tall Mike is cultured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shot out for a weekend in Paris and Prague and Rome. You know, it was great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Short David has a wry sense of humor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Cello. Do you know what the Cello is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so. Is it an instrument?


TUCHMAN: We have not yet told the women why we're asking them to fill out the questionnaires after talking to each of our recruits. But we're hoping to find out if they're making snap judgments based on height.

(on camera): The women here have been very generous with their numbers. But even now, before this night is over, we're already seeing a pattern developing, and that is the taller guys are getting the taller numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So where you are from?

TUCHMAN: It's not scientific but results are consistent. On a 1-to-10 scale, our final survey shows our short guys with a 7.7 when it comes to being outgoing; the tall guys, a 7.8. It was the only question that close. Is he confident? Short guy 7.8.; tall guys 8.3. Could he be a good leader? The margin starts to get wider -- short guy 6.9; tall guy 7.8. And the biggest difference: Could he be a good provider? Six-point-nine for the short guys; 8.1 for the tall guys.

Initially, none of the women we talked with after their 20 dates said they consciously gave taller men higher scores for the character issues. But after asking them to think about it...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was much more about body language. And maybe it's true that men who are taller project an air of -- more of an air of confidence in terms of their body language. I'm not sure.

TUCHMAN: While some of the women are concerned about height from a physical standpoint...

(on camera): How tall you are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 5'10", but with heels about 6'2''.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Others say they're now conscious of their subconscious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People who are taller are perceived as better leaders.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And do you believe that to be the case?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): One other unscientific finding: When the night was over, our short men had four matches; our tall men had nine. Life is not always fair.


TUCHMAN: Malcolm Gladwell's book is about choices made in an instant, a blink. Often we make brilliant decisions in seconds, but prejudging can lead to mistakes. So keep your mind open when it comes to height. Gladwell tells us height may be one the last barriers of prejudice to fall because it's at a more primal level than race or sex. Anderson.

COOPER: It's also fascinating because he writes about what he calls the "Warren Harding Effect." What's that?

TUCHMAN: Well, the 28th president, Anderson, of the United States was a tall, distinguished-looking man, but, with due respect to his descendants, he was not the most qualified person to be the leader of the free world. Indeed, he's considered to be one of the worst presidents ever. And it's thought his physical stature helped to get him to the White House in 1920. Here's an interesting fact: In the last 20 presidential elections, the shorter candidate has only won the president four times. Those four winners were Richard Nixon against George McGovern, Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush twice against the taller Al Gore and John Kerry. Anderson.

COOPER: It's fascinating that people equate tallness with leadership. Gary Tuchman, thanks.

Coming up next on this special edition of 360, insight from the author himself, Malcolm Gladwell, on how decisions you make in a blink of an eye can change your life for the better.


COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of 360. All this hour, we've been looking at gut reactions. We've seen how instincts can be good, bad and even confusing. But can they ever work to your advantage?

Malcolm Gladwell writes all about this in his fascinating best- selling book "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." I spoke with him earlier about how an understanding of the blink concept can radically change and even improve your life. But first, he says, you have to understand when bias is getting in your way.


GLADWELL: That's what discrimination is. It is, we are making a judgment about somebody instantly, unconsciously, without realizing we're doing it. And that judgment is biasing our -- all the conclusions we make about that person down the line in ways we're not aware of.

I mean, in the book, I talk a lot about what happened in the world of classical music when they started to put up screens so that people couldn't see the person who was auditioning.

COOPER: So you didn't know the gender of the person, whether it was a male or female?


They had never really hired women before that. And once they put up a screen -- and everyone thought they were not hiring women because they thought they couldn't play music, right? They thought they couldn't -- they were inherently inferior classical musicians. In the early 1980s, they started putting up screens so that nobody on the audition committee can see the person playing. And all of a sudden, they start hiring women, instantly.

COOPER: And you think that's the way it should be for juries. I mean, that a jury should not be sitting in the same room looking at a defendant.

GLADWELL: You cannot go through the literature on discrimination and on unconscious thinking and not come away profoundly disturbed by the way we run criminal trials in this country. There is no excuse whatsoever for a jury to be -- to see the defendant. The defendant should be in another room communicating on e-mail or in some way that blinds the jury to what this person looked like -- looks like, the color of their skin, how old they are, what their grammar is like, how they're dressed. All of that stuff is irrelevant.

COOPER: And yet that's all stuff that the jury is absorbing and making decisions based on.

GLADWELL: And the jury is absorbing that. And that information is biasing their judgments in ways they're not aware of.

COOPER: It's also interesting how the circumstances in which you are when you make these decisions affect the decisions themselves. You use the example of police officers being alone or in a group, they make very different decisions.

GLADWELL: Yes. No, this is one of the weirdest -- it surprised me so much. What you find is, if you study the way -- if you look up when cops make mistakes.

COOPER: You talk about the Rodney King incident.

GLADWELL: Rodney King is a great example of this. They should not have, you know, beaten up Rodney King, right? That was a case of bad police work. Why did that happen?

Well, one explanation we have is that the cops are racist and you know, sure, we could talk all about that. But there's another very important thing here, which is that we have found from looking very carefully at similar instances of police misconduct that they happen overwhelmingly when cops are in groups. A police officer in a group makes a far lower-quality decision than a police officer by himself or by herself.

COOPER: A group of police officers you are talking about?

GLADWELL: Yes. And in fact, young men as a rule make worse decisions in groups than young men by themselves. You know, we put a bunch of young men together and testosterone, and you know they feel emboldened by the presence of their peers, and they rush into situations. They take chances. They don't stop and think. Someone by themselves stops and thinks.

So this is a situation where if we want cops to be better decision-makers, let's keep them as much as possible by themselves.

COOPER: It's interesting, though. I mean, even -- I mean, you have noticed in your own life, I've read, with your hair -- that something as simple as changing your hair style completely changes how people interact with you.

GLADWELL: Yeah. I used to have very, very short, conservative hair. And I looked like a very good boy. And I was treated very nicely by the world. And then I grew this, and I started getting speeding tickets. I started getting harassed at the airport.

COOPER: Is that really -- really?

GLADWELL: That profoundly changed the way the world treated me. And that was actually one of the things that made me want to write this book was this understanding that -- you know we joke about, you know, dye your hair blond as a woman, the world treats you differently, or, you know, cut your hair long or short. But we don't understand, this is real. This really matters. It affects the way...

COOPER: I mean, I've certainly noticed with gray hair -- you know, I went prematurely gray when I was, you know, in my early 20s. People treat you completely differently. And they assign different characteristics to a man who has gray hair than a woman who has gray hair.

GLADWELL: Yes. Well, they probably think that you are smarter.

COOPER: Yes, totally -- absolutely.

GLADWELL: I'm just sitting here just blown away by your brilliance. But maybe it's just the hair!

COOPER: It's probably just the hair.


COOPER: It's definitely just the hair.

Next on this special edition of 360, do you have a decision you need to make? Don't blink. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Tonight, taking decisiveness to the "Nth Degree."

We hope you'll let this special hour of 360 be a lesson to you. In short, don't be like this guy. This is where fretting and pondering can lead. The poor dope's clothes have rotted away entirely. He himself has turned to stone all because he didn't trust his own instincts. He couldn't make up his mind. Sat himself to mull things over and so continues to sit till the present day mulling things over.

Six of one, half dozen of the other, maybe this, maybe that, she loves me, she loves me not, brunch or an early dinner? He's totally stuck, poised between the choices, choosing none, all because he didn't have access to the book called, "Blink," or to this special hour of television now ending.

But you have had. So you needn't be a museum piece in the sizing-things-up department. Use your experience and roll your eyeballs once lightly over, whatever the situation may be, a nanosecond is plenty of time really, and go for it.

Thanks for watching this special edition of 360.



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